Many paid price for today’s freedoms

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For many, today is just a free day – a day off from work or school; a day when banks and government offices are closed.

But this “free day” was bought and paid for with the sacrifices of millions of Americans who answered their country’s call to duty.

One hundred years ago, the global war centered in Europe and known then as “The Great War” or the “War to End All Wars” was under way.

It is the cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in that war, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, that is marked with Veterans Day, which we celebrate today, Wed., Nov. 11, 2015.

When President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919, as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, he said: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Americans have been involved in many wars since that one, and today has many soldiers fighting in the Middle East. It is the veterans of all those wars we honor today for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

All across America, veterans are honored, but Covington County does this duty especially well. Already, there have been programs in local schools and churches. Today, the celebration continues with a parade through Andalusia followed by a ceremony at the veterans memorial. It is a thing of beauty to see East Three Notch lined not only with flags, but also with people who stand to cheer when veterans pass.

Today we add our voice to many others in thanking those who have served and continue to serve. We acknowledge that this “free day” was not free, and add our prayers for the safety of those now serving in conflict.